13 Tips for Winter Grilling

    February 11, 2019

    It wasn’t so long ago that people routinely retired their grills after Labor Day, stowing them in a corner of the garage or basement to commiserate with the golf clubs until better weather.

    My, how times have changed. Whether it’s due to larger investments in grills and outdoor kitchens, a protracted appetite for the smoky flavors of summer, or the continued need for barbecue bragging rights, live fire cooking outdoors has become a four season endeavor. The Hearth and Patio Barbecue Association reports that the majority of Americans (56% in its latest survey) grill year-round.

    Now, you might wonder why you’d accept winter grilling advice from a man whose home base is Miami, Florida. Well, I grew up in Maryland and lived in Boston for 20 years, and book tours and television shoots—not to mention regular winter excursions to Martha’s Vineyard—keep me up on grilling in inhospitable weather.

    Here are my tips for winter grilling:

    • Position your grill perpendicular to the wind in a protected outside area (wind really reduces your grill’s efficiency) that is well-ventilated. Never grill in a garage, under a porch overhang, or other enclosed area. Not only is the potential for a fire great, but deadly carbon monoxide can build up. Clear any accumulation of snow off the grill.
    • If grilling with gas, check all lines and connections for leaks. In cold weather, parts become brittle or cracked. Make sure the control knobs are not frozen and turn freely.
    • Once you’ve started your gas grill or built your fire, replace the grill lid and preheat the grill for at least 20 minutes.
    • Line charcoal grills with heavy duty aluminum foil, shiny side up, to help retain and reflect heat; poke holes through the foil corresponding to the bottom vents.
    • Have plenty of extra fuel on hand. When charcoal grilling, I like to have a second kettle grill for lighting and holding live coals. Or have extra chimney starters at the ready on a heat-proof surface. (Not on your wooden deck!) Add coals every half hour, or as needed.
    • Heat escapes rapidly each time the grill lid is lifted; resist the urge to “peek.” A digital temperature probe can keep you apprised of what’s going on under the lid. Some charcoal grills come equipped with a built-in thermometer—very useful in the wintertime.
    • Allow extra time. Food will take longer to cook in cold weather—anywhere from 30 to 100 per cent longer.
    • Remember, winter days are short. If lighting around the grill is dim, supplement it with a Clip-On Grill Headlight or food-illuminating Lumatongs. At the very least, have a flashlight on hand.
    • Save the ambitious menus for friendlier grilling conditions. Select foods that can be cooked quickly—in 30 minutes or less— over direct heat. Steaks, chops, burgers, chicken breasts, shrimp, fish steaks or filets, kebabs, etc., are all good bets.
    • In my experience, smoking is very difficult to do in cold weather as many smokers are constructed of thin-gauge metal and do not retain heat well. You can smoke in a kettle grill if you maintain temperatures of 250 to 275 degrees by periodically adding fresh coals.
    • Rather than throwing soaked wood chips directly on the coals, which will immediately cool them, make a smoker pouch and put it directly on the grill grate.
    • Gas grills with double-walled construction are better at holding in heat. Kamodo-type cookers, are extraordinarily heat-retentive, too.
    • As always, protect your hands with heavy-duty grill gloves. Ski gloves are not an adequate substitute!

    Read more at: https://barbecuebible.com/2019/01/04/13-tips-for-winter-grilling/


    Vegetarian Thai Peanut Soup

    February 7, 2019

    Delectable Thai spices and creamy peanut butter, plus shiitake mushrooms and ramen noodles, flavor this hearty vegetarian Thai peanut soup.

    I’m typing this with 4″ of snow piled on the deck rail outside my window. Schools are closed, and snow-heavy leaves still clinging to their trees brought down power lines in spots around the city.

    Ugh. It’s still November, Mother Nature. What’s up with this?

    Vegetarian Thai Peanut Soup | SoupAddict.com

    But, on the bright side, it’s the perfect day for curling up indoors with a good book and big bowl of warmth, like this homemade vegetarian Thai peanut soup.

    Non-food-bloggers probably wonder why we mention weather so often in our posts, as if we have nothing else to talk about, like two strangers on a long elevator ride. But here’s the deal: food is so closely tied to time and place and bodily comfort that it’s nearly impossible to separate it from what’s going on outside.

    To wit: it’s cold throughout most of the U.S. today: how many of you hovered over a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate or tea this morning? Good stuff, right? Comforting.

    Weather determines what food is in season, and as summer heat gives way to chilly autumn, we’re hard-wired to transition our cravings from bright, acidic tomatoes, snappy peppers, and leafy greens — foods that are perfect in their raw states — to the starchy carbs of fall root vegetables, tubers, and squashes that give noble purpose to our stoves and ovens.

    So when it’s cold — and we’re looking at a low tonight in the single digits here in the Ohio Valley — my thoughts turn to soup. In fact, turkey bone broth has been simmering in my slow cooker all night long, so my entire house smells like the best comfort food restaurant you’ve ever walked into.

    Vegetarian Thai Peanut Soup | SoupAddict.com

    Don’t stall on the long ingredient list: you probably have much of it in your pantry already. And one of the beautiful things about Thai cuisine is that it’s the best at layering many flavors into one amazing whole.

    Vegetarian Thai peanut soup is the antidote to snow everywhere days like today. Crave-worthy Thai spices, twirly ramen noodles, and just enough peanut butter to add a salty richness … this soup is comfort food warmth in a bowl.

    Read more at: https://soupaddict.com/2014/11/vegetarian-thai-peanut-soup/


    Cold-fighting Couscous Chicken Soup

    January 28, 2019

    his is the best healthy chicken soup for when you’re feeling a little sniffly and achy. Or just need a big comfort food hug! Couscous chicken soup is loaded with health-supporting ingredients like ginger, garlic, turmeric, and lemongrass, and its light and cheery flavor is comfort food at its best. (Now with Instant Pot instructions!)

    I knew this winter was going to be a tough one when my annual, knock-down-drag-out cold arrived in October. I really hope that I’ve paid my cold dues for the season, but judging by the red-noses and saggy faces of folks schlepping around the grocery store, looking like death warmed over, cold season has arrived with claws extended.

    I don’t care if there’s science behind it; I don’t care if it’s a placebo effect of memories from my youth, sipping healthy chicken soup when sick. Can chicken soup can really help cure a cold? {shrugs}

    What I do know is that there’s no better comfort food than chicken soup when you’re under the weather. It’s pure comfort and nourishment on a spoon!

    Cold Fighting Couscous Chicken Soup | SoupAddict.com

    This delicious couscous chicken soup includes health-supporting ingredients like:

    • ginger
    • garlic
    • lemongrass
    • turmeric
    • and a big squeeze of lemon

    Anti-inflammatory and wonderfully tasty, these amazing aromatics create a light and bright soup: Comforting and good for you! It’s absolutely a win-win, whether you’re sick or not.

    Three bowls of Cold-Fighting Couscous Chicken Soup

    I’m a big fan of pasta in my chicken soup (when I was young, it was chicken and stars), so I always add pearl couscous to my soup. Pearl couscous is the perfect size and texture for chicken soup, mostly because it’s far easier to keep on the spoon than noodles!

    You know what I’m sayin’ — you don’t want to struggle with your soup and those long, splish-splashy noodles when you’re sick.

    Use a little couscous for a brothy soup, as seen in the video at the top of this post, or a lot of couscous for a hearty stew, as in the photos (<< my favorite!). Good, good stuff.

    Cold Fighting Couscous Chicken Soup | SoupAddict.com

    So delicious, light, and healthy, couscous chicken soup is easy to make, too — you’re just a half hour away from a big fragrant pot of soup! Make lots, eat some, freeze some.

    Winter is coming, and I’ll start soup season by making a big pot of couscous chicken soup, dividing it into individual servings, and stashing it all in the freezer. I’m always so grateful to have this soup ready to go, for when a cold hits the house!

    Stay healthy, everyone, and eat lots of healthy chicken soup!

    Read more at: https://soupaddict.com/2015/01/couscous-chicken-soup/


    How to Grill Pizza: A Thermal Explanation

    January 25, 2019

    While there is much to commend the classic American pizzeria-style, delivered-in-a box pizza, it will almost always fall short of a Neapolitan-style pizza. When Raffaele Esposito created the Margherita pizza in Naples back in the mid-1800’s and launched the popularity of pizza, he used a woodfired brick oven that had enough heat to lightly char the chewy crusty, giving it a flame-kissed flavor that was as important as any toppings.

    But I don’t have a brick pizza oven, and, statistically speaking, neither do you! So, how are you to get a crisp-char crust on your favorite homemade pie? The grill! Opinions vary, but most people will agree that an “authentic” pizza oven must be in the range of 600–900°F (343–482°C), and your house oven just can’t hit that temperature. And anyways, in the summertime, who wants it to!

    By grilling your pizza, you can achieve the kind of temperatures you need for maximum flavor development while also sparing your household a roasting. But where to begin? What temperatures do you need to know to become a real pizzaolo? Read on to find out!


    The best pizza doughs are made with bread flour. Bread flour has a higher protein (gluten) content and can, therefore, create a crust that is chewier and more pliable. Chewy crusty is one of the most sought-after characteristics of a pizza crust, and pliability is necessary if you want to fold a slice in half without it crumbling like a biscuit. Use a good quality bread four for your pizza dough.

    Note: Some people will tell you to use only Italian Tipo-00 flour for your pizza. This is good advice, except that it doesn’t necessarily refer to high-protein flour. Tipo-00 refers to the largest granule size of the flour, not its protein content. You can find pastry AP of this fineness, if you look, and they could even be pastry flour. Go ahead and use Tipo-00 if you can find/afford it, but make sure it’s high-protein flour for pizza our pasta.

    After flour selection, the rest of the ingredients for pizza dough are simple: water, yeast, a little sugar if you like, salt, and a nice helping of good olive oil. There is no mystery to the ingredients. It’s all in how you put them together.

    There are two important factors that will affect the outcome of your dough:

    1. temperature and
    2. kneading.


    The temperature of the water that you add to the dough is of critical importance to the success of your pizza.

    If it’s too cold, your yeast won’t rise quickly enough. If it’s too hot, you can actually kill the yeast and it will never rise. Not only will your dough be flat and hard to manage if that happens, but it will also taste flat and uninteresting. (We’ve written about the importance of temperature in making breadbefore. Read more about it there!) If the water is far too hot, you can even denature the proteins in the flour before you get a chance to develop the gluten.

    The ideal temperature for the water in your dough is 105–120°F (41–49°C), which will activate the yeast without overheating it. Using a fast and accurate Thermapen® Mk4 will help you get the environment for your yeast just right. Be sure to take extra care to get the water temperature just right before adding it.

    With everything combined at the proper temperature, it’s time to knead.

    To get the classic chew of a pizza crust, you need major gluten development, and that means major kneading. Kneading the dough increases the gluten connectivity and makes stretchy and elastic. Knead the dough until you can take a small piece of it and stretch it out into a very thin membrane. This “window pane” test is used by professional bakers to make sure their bread is ready for rising.

    Be warned, this may take up to 10 minutes of kneading. Be strong (or use a mixer with a dough hook).

    Once you’ve combined the ingredients and kneaded them together, you’ll want your dough to be in a comfortable temperature range. Check it again with your Thermapen Mk4 so you can know what to expect from the rise. If your dough temp is in the 80’s °F (30’s °C) you can expect a quick rise. If your flour was cold and your dough finishes the kneading cycle in the 70’s °F (20’s °C) you can expect a longer rise time.

    After kneading very well, you need to let the dough rise for a while. A barely warm oven is a great way to proof your dough (proofing is what bakers call allowing dough to rise), as is a cooler with some warm water in the bottom. Yeast rises best when the air temperature is 85°F (29°C), so try to get an ambient temperature as close to that as is possible.

    Let the dough rise until its volume doubles before shaping the dough to make your pies (or tossing it in the air, if you feel so inclined).


    There are two ways you can set up your grill for grilling pizzas: with or without a pizza stone.


    You may say to yourself that grilling pizza with a pizza stone isn’t very, well, grill-y, and you may be right about that. But by placing your pizza stone directly on the grill surface, you can get a surface temperature that rivals a woodfired pizza oven!

    To cook on a pizza stone, place the stone directly above your heat source (gas or charcoal work well for this) and let it preheat with the grill. You’ll want a surface temperature of at least 570°F(299°C) on the stone, which you can read comfortably from a distance with an infrared thermometer like the IRK-2 that has a circle laser showing the area where the temperature is being measured.

    Once the stone surface is up to temp, slide your shaped dough onto the stone, arrange your toppings, and close the lid for cooking. Check the bottom of the pizza after a few minutes to see how it’s doing. A well-browned, crisp crust is the goal, and if your air temp is high enough, you’ll get bubbly brown cheese at the same time the crust is ready.Pizza stone grilling pizzas

    Cheese browning is dependent on many factors, as it turns out. The strain of bacteria used to make the cheese can affect its coloration by limiting or accentuating the content of galactose, which browns more readily than lactose. In general, cheeses will brown well at or above temperatures of 450°F (232°C). If you want browned cheese, your air temp will need to exceed this level.

    The advantages of this method are its ease—it’s easier to not burn the pizza this way—and its convenience for smaller grills. As you are cooking directly over the heat, you don’t need room for two-zone cooking.

    The disadvantage is the length of time it takes to cook the pizzas. On our gas grill, the pizzas took about 7-8 minutes to cook with this method. That’s not a long time, but when you’re anticipating hot, melty, crisp pizza, it can feel like a long time.


    Grilling directly on the grate is a little more exciting and a little more challenging. Gas grills are a little easier to wrangle with this type of cooking, but if you can get a steady, even fire on your charcoal grill, the higher temps will reward you with cheese bliss. The surface of your grill will likely be in the 600°F (316°C) range, which is perfect. Check it with an IRK-2 pointed at a cast iron pan to make sure it’s hot enough before you begin.

    You’ll need to set your grill up for two-zone cooking and have a lid for your grill at the ready. To cook pizza on the grill grate, shape the dough, then place it directly over heat on the grate. Close the grill for a little less than a minute, then check the dough. You want the bottom to have well-browned grill lines on it and the top to be quite bubbly. Remove the dough from the grill using tongs and place on a work surface (upside-down cookie sheet). Brush the bubbly side with olive oil, then flip it so that the grilled side is up. Oil that side also.  Sauce and top the pizza and slide it back onto the grill over direct heat for another minute to set the dough before moving it to the indirect-heat side. Grilling pizza on the grate

    Replace the lid and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly.Pizza grilled on the grate

    The disadvantages of this method are its fallibility—it can be easy to droop dough down into the fire—and its active time—there’s a lot more action than putting it on the grill and waiting. But then, that might be an advantage in its own way.

    The advantages are the sheer fun of it and the smoke-flame char patches that will develop, reminiscent of the charred bubbles on a Napoli pizza.


    Use any sauce you like for your pizza, but use far less of it than you think you’ll need. A bare skiff of sauce across the surface of your pie will suffice without bogging your crust down in sogginess. The same goes for cheese. I like a cheesy slice as much as the next guy, but you’ll be surprised at how far a little cheese goes on a pizza. Don’t put a mountain of it on your pizza. Too much cheese is hard to melt, harder to get bubbly, and becomes unpleasant on a nice thin crust.saucing and cheesing a pizza

    The type of cheese is up to you. I like a blend of mozzarella and provolone (equal parts) with a little parm in the mix, but try your favorite to see how it goes.

    As for toppings, let your imagination run wild. Bacon, pepperoni, and tomatoes; charred scallions and fresh sweet corn; pesto, wing sauce, Alfredo. Make a pizza with Nutella and strawberries for dessert. Just don’t put more toppings than the crust can bear.PIzza toppings for grilled pizza

    Cook hard-to-cook toppings first. Pre-brown your sausage, blanch and dry broccoli, even roast or sauté peppers first for the best texture. Don’t count on anything cooking that is thick and dense. If it takes a long time to cook on the stove, it’ll take a long time to cook on the pizza!

    Note on dough: If you just want to grill a pizza but don’t want to make pizza dough, ask a local bakery if you can buy a lump of dough. They often oblige and it will make delicious pizza. Just make sure your grill is at the proper temperature!


    Recipe from Simply Recipes Homemade Pizza

    Grilling tips from Bon Appétit and Simply Recipes


    • 1 1/2 cups  warm water, 105–115°F (41-46°C) as measured on a Thermapen Mk4
    • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
    • 3 3/4 cups (490 g) bread flour
    • 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugarPizza dough ingredients


    • In a mixer or a large bowl, combine dry ingredients.
    • Make sure the water temp is correct, then add the water and the olive oil.Mix the ingredients for the pizza dough together
    • Mix to form a shaggy dough mass. If using a mixer, switch to a dough hook at this point.
    • Knead the dough for 7-10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.Kneading pizza dough
    • Check the temperature with a Thermapen.
    • Place the dough ball in a bowl greased with olive oil, cover and allow to rise, optimally in a location that is 85°F (29°C).proofing pizza dough
    • Once the dough has risen to double its size, punch it down and divide into 8-oz chunks.
    • Roll out or hand-shape each crust to an 8-12″ oval as you need it, making the pizzas in turn.
    • The crusts can be ugly shapes, perfect roundness is not necessary.shaping pizza dough for grilled pizza
    • Place the shaped dough on a floured pizza peel or upside-down cookie sheet and then slide it onto the grill.
    • Follow above directions for cooking pizzas on either a grill grate or a baking stone.

    Grilled Margherita pizzaThere’s nothing quite like a hot, fresh pizza from the grill. You have control over the sauce, the cheese, the toppings, and the crust. And with the knowledge you get form your Thermapen Mk4and your IRK-2 thermometers, you have control over the temperatures, which means you can better affect the outcome.

    So dive in, make some dough and make pizza night a new tradition. You’ll never want to cook a pizza any other way!

    Read more at: https://blog.thermoworks.com/bread/how-to-grill-pizza-a-thermal-explanation-2/


    How To Make An Italian Pizza: The Simple, Step-by-step Guide

    January 16, 2019

    Want to know how to make a real Italian pizza? The very best way is to get an after-hours tutorial from the chefs at one of Rome’s finest pizzerias. But if you aren’t going to be in Rome any time soon, your next best option is to check out this recipe from the Walks of Italy crew.

    The most important part is getting the Italian pizza dough right! More than just the base of the pizza, the dough is what gives the pizza its texture, holds together the flavors, and—if done right—can make you feel like you’ve been transported right back to Italy.

    But first:

    Just a bit about pizza in Italy…

    A traditional pizza margherita of Naples, complete with the thick crust

    A traditional pizza margherita of Naples, complete with the thick crust

    Even though it’s become the most popular Italian food abroad, pizza and Italy didn’t weren’t always synonymous. In fact, pizza wasn’t even invented until the 19th century, when it started out as a fast food on the streets of Naples. In the beginning (and, we’d argue, even today), the simpler the pizza, the better: The classic pizza napoletana was just dough with a tomato sauce of Marzano tomatoes, oregano or basil, a little garlic, salt, and olive oil. (for all you need to know about choosing the best olive oil, check out our post.)

    It’s another pizza from Naples, though, that has the neatest pedigree. When Queen Margherita came to visit Naples in 1889, she was charmed by a local pizza baker who had made, in her honor, a pizza with the colors of the new flag of the just-unified Italy—red tomatoes, white mozzarella, and green basil. Yep, you guessed it. It’s now called the pizza margherita (or margarita, on some menus).

    Roman pizza

    Traditional Roman pizza (check out that thin crust!)

    Of course, Italian food is very regional, and so are Italian pizzas. (Although any real Italian pizza should always be cooked in a wood-fired oven; in fact, a pizzeria without one can’t even, legally, call itself a pizzeria!). That world-famous pizza in Naples is known as “pizza alta” (thick crust), while pizza in Rome is traditionally thin-crust and crisp.

    Like the rest of Italian food, Italian pizza is best—and most authentic—when it’s made with fresh, local ingredients, especially any that are DOP (You can read a full explanation of this wonderful little term in our blog about DOP foods). We’re not talking the microwaved dough and synthetic cheese that you see now both in Italy and abroad, but something completely different.

    The best way to try it, short of going to an authentic pizzeria with great ingredients and a wood-fired oven? Make it at home!

    What you need to make an Italian pizza

    (makes dough for 4 pizzas, each one about 12 inches in diameter):

    • 600 mL of warm water
    • 7 cups (1kg) flour, type “00”*
    • 2.5 – 3 tablespoons (25 grams) of fresh yeast or 2 teaspoons (7-8 grams) of dried yeast.
    • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    • 1.5 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons sugar

    *A note on the flour: In Italy, “00”, or “doppio zero,” flour is the most highly-refined and finest-ground flour available. Not available where you are (or too expensive?). An all-purpose flour should work just as well!

    How to make your pizza:

    Kids can make their own pizzas, too!

    Kids love making pizza, too!

    1. Sprinkle the yeast into a medium bowl with the warm water. We don’t mean hot, and we don’t mean cold… we mean warm! That’s the kind the yeast likes best. Stir until the yeast dissolves.

    2. Place almost all of the flour on the table in the shape of a volcano. (Think Mt. Vesuvius… appropriate since Naples is the king of all pizza cities!).

    3. Pour the yeast-and-warm-water mix, along with the other ingredients, into the “crater” of the volcano.

    4. Knead everything together for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, keeping your surface floured.

    5. Grease up a bowl with some olive oil and put the dough inside. Turn the dough around so the top is slightly oiled.

    6. Cover the bowl and put the dough aside to let it rest for at least four or five hours.

    7 (optional for those who want their pizza really authentic). Make a cross on top of the dough with a knife. An old Italian tradition, this is seen as a way of “blessing the bread.”

    8. Preheat the oven to about 400°F, or about 200°C.

    9. Dump the dough out of the bowl and back onto the floured surface. Punch it down, getting rid of any bubbles. (Note: Now’s the time to enlist a kid with more energy than they know what to do with!).

    10. Divide the dough in half and let it rest for a few minutes.

    11. Roll each section into a 12-inch disc. Now’s your chance to decide how thick you want your pizza to be! Do you want it pizza alta (Neapolitan-style) or pizza bassa (Roman-style)? Just remember, your crust will puff up a little bit as it’s baked!

    12.  Transfer the dough onto an oiled pizza pan or baking sheet.

    13. Add tomato sauce, if you want a pizza rossa (red pizza). Lots of pizzas in Italy are actually pizza bianca, without tomato sauce, so don’t feel like you have to! Brush the edges of the crust with a little bit of olive oil.

    14. Bake each pizza for about 10 minutes, then add mozzarella cheese (sliced or grated) on top, as well as any other ingredients.

    15. Let the pizzas bake until the crust is browned and the cheese is melted. By lifting up the pizza to peek underneath, you can make sure the bottom has browned, too.

    16. Remove your pizzas from the oven and, for a real Italian touch, garnish with a few basil leaves. And enjoy!

    Read more at: https://www.walksofitaly.com/blog/food-and-wine/italian-pizza-dough-recipe